Next Dodge Ram may get 6.4-litre Hemi motor

December 18th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Chrysler’s 5.7-litre HEMI V8 engine is a mammoth motor, but it seems that it just isn’t big enough. According to reports Dodge’s next heavy duty Ram will be offered with a massive 6.4-litre version of the OHV V8.

Based on the current 6.1-litre version of the HEMI, an engine that appears in a few SRT-branded cars, the new engine would feature both a larger bore and a longer stroke, with resulting power figures estimated at between 450 and 500hp.

An engine with that much horse would need a hardcore transmission bolted up to its crankshaft, something Dodge already offers with its diesel engines. Chrysler may use the latest six-speed gearbox from German specialist ZF.

Of course, all of this assumes that Chrysler will retain the RAM and this particular engine development when it emerges from bankruptcy. Assuming it does, in addition to its spot in the Ram HD lineup, the 6.4-litre HEMI V8 is also likely to make an appearance under the hood of Jeep’s next Grand Cherokee SRT8. No word yet on how much the new motor will add to the price of the Ram and also how bad the fuel economy is for such a big unit.

Chrysler ecoVoyager concept

December 17th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Beauty footage – exterior and interior

Dodge Challenger 2009 reveal

December 17th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham
Chrysler promises that ‘if you can dream it, we’ll do our best to build it.’ The Dodge Challenger aims to specifically realise the muscle car dreams

Chrysler promises that ‘if you can dream it, we’ll do our best to build it.’ The Dodge Challenger aims to specifically realise the muscle car dreams

Chysler ME Four-twelve concept launch

December 16th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham
V12, quad-turbo, 850hp, 7-speed wet clutch transmission – enough said

V12, quad-turbo, 850hp, 7-speed wet clutch transmission – enough said

Cash for Clunkers helps Japanese brands most

November 16th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Rusty beetle

There’s no question that American President Obama’s Cash-for-Clunkers program has accelerated vehicle sales in the States, a new report has just shown that the big winners were from Japan, not Detroit. A slight back-fire perhaps.

According to the study, nearly 85 percent of the trade-ins were from General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, yet they only sold 39 percent of the new cars that replaced them. On the Japanese side, 8 percent of the trade-ins came from Toyota, Honda, and Nissan, manufacturers who accounted for 41 percent of the resulting new car purchases.

While these numbers may be justified by the large quantity of inefficient domestic trucks and SUVs that were deemed clunkers, customer loyalty also seems to have seen a shift. About 68 percent of owners who traded in Toyota, Honda, or Nissan vehicles replaced them with another from one of those Japanese brands, while only 43 percent of consumers who traded in Detroit steel purchased another General Motors, Ford, or Chrysler product.

The program reportedly cost the U.S. taxpayers about $3 billion USD. Nice one.

Chrysler unveils new 5-year plan

November 12th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Jeep Cherokee Wrangler fq

The New Zealand Chrysler team has been buoyed by the unveiling of a new 5-year plan to steer the company and its brands into the future.

A total of 21 new models are to be introduced by Chrysler before 2014, with the aim of doubling sales worldwide, returning the company to profitability and repaying the US Government loans.

Chrysler is partnering with its new 20% owner Fiat Auto to make use of the Italian company’s engine and product technology to achieve the ambitious turn-around and the plan has received the thumbs-up from the Chrysler distributor and dealer network in New Zealand.

“We were surprised and delighted by the scope of changes that are going to take place and there is a lot of confidence among our team about where Chrysler is going in the future,” says Todd Groves, Divisional Manager with Chrysler importer Sime Darby Automobiles Limited.

The Chrysler 5-year plan, which was revealed at a marathon 8-hour presentation to industry and media in Detroit, has been put together in just three months under Sergio Marchionne, who led Fiat through a similar restructuring three years ago.

The plan calls for almost $32billion to be invested in a complete renewal of every model in the Chrysler portfolio between now and the end of 2013. It will see Jeep emerge as the largest and most important brand in the Chrysler Group stable, the Dodge brand taking on a performance image and Chrysler paired with the upmarket Lancia brand in Europe.
Fiat will help Chrysler to fast-track development by providing vehicle platforms for a new range of medium and small size vehicles that will be launched with Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge nameplates. Among them are a new small Jeep under the Patriot size and new small cars for both Chrysler and Dodge.

Fiat will also provide technology for a new range of high performance four cylinder engines that are expected to deliver greater fuel economy and reduced emissions. Among the technology that will be utilised is the Multiair system that transforms the performance of a small capacity engine to rival much larger engines, thus saving weight and fuel. Advanced transmissions will also be part of the new development package.

Chrysler is also working on improving the current stable of models that will see the company through the immediate years. These include the Dodge Caliber and Jeep Patriot, both of which have just arrived in New Zealand with completely revised passenger cabins, featuring higher quality materials and detailed finishing.

Two totally new large Jeep and Chrysler models are expected to be introduced next year, but it will be 2012 before the all-new small and medium sized models arrive.

Chrysler says that the changes unveiled in the 5-year plan will see the company increase its sales from 1.3 million worldwide in 2009 to 2.8 million by the end of 2013. Jeep will almost double in sales to more than 800,000 per year, with Chrysler and Dodge each contributing 600,000 in sales. The Ram truck is being spun off into a brand on its own and will have a number of other models included, such as small and large vans.

Financially Chrysler is expected to break even in 2010 and progress to an operating profit of US$5 billion by 2014

Mr Groves says the New Zealand market may be small but it will be making an important contribution to the growing health of Chrysler in the future and plans are already being made to increase sales in this market in 2010 and beyond.

Dodge ready to make new Viper

November 6th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Dodge Viper SRT10 fq

Ralph Gilles, big boss of the Dodge car brand has dropped some big news on the Viper in a very recent interview. After going back and forth for the past 18 months on what to do with Viper, Chrysler has decided that production of the current Viper will end in July 2010. But before that happens, 500 final cars will be built that will apparently be the most special Vipers ever. Gilles stated that the company wanted to preserve the value of existing Vipers by not simply continuing the current generation indefinitely. He talked it up but didn’t give any real details on what would make the final 500 cars so special.

However, Viper fans don’t need to go into mourning just yet. Gilles also revealed that an all-new sports car is being developed with a launch targeted sometime in 2012. It gets better, the replacement Viper will be getting some help from Chrysler’s new Italian brothers Fiat. This may mean that Ferrari could be involved in development of this mysterious new model. Muscle car fans everywhere will be hoping Chrysler retains the Viper’s raw nature in the new generation.

Chrysler to only sell Jeep outside U.S

November 5th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Chrysler Jeep

Fresh details about the international future of Chrysler brands has recently come to light. According to reports Chrysler will withdraw all but the Jeep brand from markets outside North America.

Apparently Jeep will remain an international brand because of its iconic status and global name recognition, while Chrysler, Dodge and the new Ram brand will be restricted to the North American markets.

This news may disappoint some American car fans but it makes sense for Chrysler because in recent years the North American market has accounted for around 90 percent of Chrysler’s sales.

The new plan is also expected to see the introduction of new fuel-efficient models to the US, using Fiat-developed technology. The Chrysler brand is expected to share and get most of its platforms from Lancia, which Fiat also owns.

Fiat will also take over development of the rear-wheel-drive platform scheduled to underpin the next generation 300C, replacing its own existing rear-wheel-drive project in Europe.

Alfa Romeo is also set to benefit by adding a new SUV to its future line-up, using platforms drawn from Chrysler.